Karibu Kenya

We’ve been in Kenya for a little more than a week now, and the jet lag has nearly waned.   Our flights were thankfully uneventful, and praise the Lord, despite the TSA rummage sale, all of our luggage made it too!  We were graciously greeted in Nairobi by a family that has been in Kenya with another organization for nearly two years.  They helped us get our luggage and secured a place for us to stay for a couple days.   

While in the capital we were able to purchase some things that are not available in our rural area (believe it or not Ree’L found a few bottles of Mountain Dew in Nairobi), and we were able to take Sylis on a little excursion to an elephant orphanage.  For $5 we got to see the feeding and play-time of 24 elephants, aged baby to adolescent.  Because there was only a thin piece of rope separating you from these rambunctious creatures, an occasional body check or a tap from their trunks came free.

Once we regained some of the sleep lost from the flights and stocked up on items, we made the 4.5 hour drive out of the city up to the eastern base of Mount Kenya.  A good, but windy road led us on a connect-the-dot tour between towns and markets, from Nairobi up to Chogoria.  We had to take two cars from Nairobi to our new home - I wish I could have been in the car with Ree’L and Sylis to hear their impressions of what they saw as this is their first time in Africa. 

Much like at the airport, we were greeted here in Chogoria with open arms.  In our flat (i.e., our apartment), there was a fresh bouquet of flowers picked earlier that day, two dozen eggs and a fresh jug of milk still steaming from the cow’s utter.  Another family from our organization arrived here last month, and they have been a tremendous blessing during our initial transition. 

Since in Chogoria, we have met many wonderful Kenyans who have gone out of their way to make us feel welcomed.  Over the last several days we have been busy meeting our language helper and neighbors, visiting the hospital, solidifying Sylis’ schooling during our language training, getting mattresses to sleep on and unpacking. 

Sylis quickly found his Legos and got to work.  He also found the tree swing, and another tree he easily scaled.  We discovered him about 12 feet up with a puzzled, but “I’ll figure it out later” look on his face as to how to get down.  We should have brought his bike helmet.

Spending some time in the market, we procured milk from the “milk guy,” got new keys cut and filed by hand, and tried to identify the best produce prices.  We have also seen several feats that defy all laws of physics.  The greatest of these was a pikipiki (imagine small dirt bike) hauling a full sized couch.  If that is of no consequence to you, then imagine someone sitting on the couch!  I can’t even make that up. 

On Monday, we will put what we learned at our training in Colorado to use and begin our three months of intense language training. For two people who do not feel as if they have a tremendous grasp on the English language, this is going to be a great exercise in perseverance and patience.  Thankfully mangos are in season and there is plenty of push-pot coffee to go around.  With his own language helper, I’m sure Sylis will make laps around us and pick up the language in no time. 

Here are our top 5 lessons from the last week:

1.       You cannot return anything after it is purchased, even if it doesn’t work (ouch!).

2.       Unpredictable electricity requires far greater planning than expected.

3.       You can put anything, and I mean anything, on a pikipiki (i.e., dirt bike).

4.       Milk straight from the cow is utterly delicious.

5.       It’s impossible to get in and out of the cell phone store (Safaricom) in less than 2 hours, regardless of your cellular need.